This article is about visual culture, identity, and women in interwar Egypt and Iran. I use a transnational feminist approach to connect the histories of Egypt and Iran, in their differences and commonalities, during the interwar period. By emphasizing women’s education as the source of advancement of the society, the late nineteenth century Egyptian thinkers, Qasim Amin and Mohammad Abduh, and Iranian intellectuals Jamal al-Din Asadabadi (al-Afghani), Abdolhossein Khan Kermani, and Yusef Ashtiyani, invoked a male representation of a “feminist” discourse. During the 1906-1911 Iranian Constitutional Revolution and the 1919 Egyptian anti-British Revolution, the discourse of education was translated into women’s first quest for legal and political rights. National modernization policies, as diverse as they were in each country, translated the “woman question,” both as a discursive and a practice, into the question of women’s appearance in public.
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